Book Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

monstrous beauty cover

View from the window seat:
Monstrous Beauty, told in alternating points of view (the past and the present), follows Syrenka, a beautiful mermaid, and Hester, a modern teenager. This is my first mermaid book; I picked it up despite having never read a mermaid book synopsis that I thought would be non-ridiculous because of the premise of the past and the present being connected through some mystery. I’m torn over whether or not I actually liked this book. I thought the mermaids, and Syrenka, were very well done. These mermaids are brutal and strange and I loved this author’s take on these mythical creatures. However, I felt that the rest of the book fell flat. I simply couldn’t find it in me to care about Hester or any other character. Hester had little personality to speak of besides a passion for history that seemed more like a plot device than characterization. The “mystery” of the book was easily spotted early on, so when Hester has her big revelation at the end, I was kind of detached from the whole thing. Of course there’s the insta-love, my soul yearns for yours and I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT blah blah blah that in this case was extra annoying because the two characters had spoken to each other only once or twice.

Overall impression:
While I enjoyed the mermaids, poor characterization and a predictable plot made Monstrous Beauty a forgettable read.


Monstrous Beauty is also available as an audiobook from Macmillan Audio. Check out a clip below!

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama – Prologue 

Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.


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